Posts Tagged ‘Haskell Wexler’


Monday, December 28th, 2015

tn_latinolucasminusstarwarsIn the early ’80s, a brutal guerrilla war was going on in Nicaragua, with an army of terrorist counter-revolutionaries, or contras, fighting against the leftist Sandinista party that was in power. The contras were funded and trained by the U.S. and called “freedom fighters” by President Reagan. Most Americans didn’t really pay attention, so the cinematographer, documentarian and sometimes narrative film director Haskell Wexler – who died yesterday at the age of 93 – decided to make this fictionalized movie about it.

Eddie Guerrero (Robert Beltran, LONE WOLF MCQUADE) is an American special forces soldier following up his Vietnam tours with a secret mission in Honduras. He works with Ruben (Tony Plana, HALF PAST DEAD 1-2) to train some soldiers who go over the border into Nicaragua to fight the communist Sandanistas.

Then we meet some of these communists living on a farming cooperative. They are peasant women and teenage boys with AKs trying to defend themselves from the contras who keep coming in, burning their crops and taking their sons, forcing them to join up.

We see how that works: they come into town, spray some bullets around, throw the young men on the ground and tie them up. While they’re there Eddie doesn’t really know what’s up yet, but he wanders into an old lady’s kitchen and gets an earful about his side and how she hopes he dies. He takes one of the tortillas she’s making and eats it, so maybe he’s more of an asshole than we realized. (read the rest of this shit…)

Tell Them Who You Are

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005

This is a documentary about the legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler, only it’s directed by his son Mark, so instead of being about Wexler’s career and genius, it’s more about daddy doesn’t love me enough. The son rebelling against the father and then trying to make up before he kicks it (he’s in his ’80s).

The opening scene won me over right off the bat. Haskell is in a big store room in front of all kinds of camera equipment, talking about what he does. From behind the camera, Mark asks him to tell where he is.

Now, we the audience aren’t retards. We know he’s in some sort of room where he keeps his camera equipment, because he’s standing in front of a bunch of camera equipment. Mark is a grown man and has directed documentaries before, but he clearly doesn’t know about “cinema verite,” also known as “direct cinema” or “good documentaries.” Haskell tries to explain that he shouldn’t have to say where he is, the audience will know where he is by watching what he’s talking about, seeing his surroundings, watching what happens. But Mark isn’t having it. He keeps asking Haskell where he is, and Haskell flips out. Immediately I knew I liked the guy. (read the rest of this shit…)